HMS Victory in Portsmouth, 1900
|Ordered:||14 July 1758|
|Laid down:||23 July 1759|
|Launched:||7 May 1765|
|Battle of Trafalgar (1805)|
|Status:||Active, preserved at Portsmouth, England
flagship of the First Sea Lord
|General characteristics |
|Class & type:||104-gun first-rate ship of the line|
|Displacement:||3,500 tons (3,556 tonnes)|
|Tons burthen:||2,142 tons bm|
186 ft (57 m) (gundeck),
|Beam:||51 ft 10 in (15.80 m)|
|Draught:||28 ft 9 in (8.76 m)|
|Depth of hold:||21 ft 6 in (6.55 m)|
|Propulsion:||Sails—6,510 sq yd (5,440 m²)|
|Sail plan:||Full-rigged ship|
|Speed:||8 to 9 knots (15 to 17 km/h) maximum|
|Armour:||None, although oak hull thickness at waterline 2 ft (0.6 m)|
|Notes:||Height from waterline to top of mainmast: 205 ft (62.5 m)|
In 1922 she was moved to a dry dock at Portsmouth, England, and preserved as a museum ship. She is the flagship of the First Sea Lord since October 2012 and is the world's oldest naval ship still in commission.[Note 1]
- 1 Construction
- 2 In service
- 3 Reconstruction
- 4 Nelson and Trafalgar
- 5 After Trafalgar
- 6 Admirals who have hoisted their flag on the Victory
- 7 See also
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 External links
In December 1758, the commissioner of Chatham Dockyard was instructed to prepare a dry dock for the construction of a new first-rate ship. This was an unusual occurrence at the time, as the Royal Navy preferred smaller and more manoeuvrable ships, and it was unusual for more than two to be in commission simultaneously; during the whole of the 18th century only ten were constructed.
The outline plans were based on HMS Royal George which had been launched at Woolwich Dockyard in 1756 and the naval architect chosen to design the ship was Sir Thomas Slade who, at the time, was the appointed Surveyor of the Navy. She was designed to carry at least 100 guns and was established with that number of guns; in practice, her armament varied from 104 to 106 guns and carronades. In January 1808 the Victory was reduced to a 98-gun second rate, but was reclassed as a 104-gun first rate in February 1817.
The keel was laid on 23 July 1759 in the Old Single Dock (since renamed No. 2 Dock and now Victory Dock), and the name was finally chosen in October 1760. In 1759 the Seven Years' War was going well for Britain; land victories had been won at Quebec and Minden and naval battles had been won at Lagos and Quiberon Bay. It was the Annus Mirabilis, or Year of Victories, and the ship's name may have been chosen to commemorate it or it may have been chosen simply because out of the seven names shortlisted, Victory was the only one not in use. There were some doubts whether this was a suitable name since the previous first-rate Victory had been lost with all on board in 1744.
Once the frame had been built, it was normal to cover the ship up and leave it for several months to season but the end of the Seven Years' War meant that she remained in this condition for nearly three years, which helped her subsequent longevity. Work restarted in autumn 1763 and she was finally launched on 7 May 1765, having cost £63,176 and 3 shillings, the equivalent of £7.53 million today. Around 6000 trees were used in her construction, of which 90% were oak and the remainder elm, pine and fir, together with a small quantity of Lignum Vitae.
Because there was no immediate use for her, she was placed in ordinary—in reserve, roofed over, dismasted and placed under general maintenance—moored in the River Medway for 13 years until France joined the American War of Independence. She was commissioned in March 1778 under Captain John Lindsay but he was transferred to HMS Prince George in May 1778 when Admiral the Honourable Augustus Keppel decided to raise his flag in her, and appoint Rear Admiral John Campbell (1st Captain) and Captain Jonathan Faulknor (2nd Captain).
The Victory was armed with smooth bore, cast iron cannon. Initially she carried thirty 42-pounders (19 kg) on her lower deck, twenty-eight 24-pounders (11 kg) on her middle deck, and thirty 12-pounders (5 kg) on her upper deck, together with twelve 6-pounders on her quarterdeck and forecastle. In May 1778, the 42-pounders were replaced by 32-pounders (15 kg), but the 42-pounders were reinstated in April 1779; eventually, in 1803, the 42-pounders were permanently replaced by 32-pounders. In 1782, all the 6-pounders were replaced by 12-pounders. Later, she also carried two carronade guns, firing 68-lb (31 kg) round shot.
First battle of Ushant
Keppel put to sea from Spithead on 9 July 1778, with a force of around twenty-nine ships of the line and, on 23 July, sighted a French fleet of roughly equal force 100 miles (160 km) west of Ushant. The French Admiral, Louis Guillouet, comte d'Orvilliers, who had orders to avoid battle, was cut off from Brest but retained the weather gage. Maneuvering was made difficult by changing winds and driving rain but eventually a battle became inevitable with the British more or less in column and the French in some confusion. However, the French managed to pass along the British line with their most advanced ships. At about a quarter to twelve Victory opened fire on the Bretagne of 110 guns, which was being followed by the Ville de Paris of 90 guns. The British van escaped with little loss but Sir Hugh Palliser's rear division suffered considerably. Keppel made the signal to follow the French but Palliser did not conform and the action was not resumed. Keppel was court martialled and cleared and Palliser criticised by an inquiry before the affair turned into a political argument.
Second battle of Ushant
In March 1780 Victory 's hull was sheathed with 3,923 sheets of copper below the waterline to protect it against shipworm. On 2 December 1781 the ship, now commanded by Captain Henry Cromwell and bearing the flag of Rear Admiral Richard Kempenfelt, sailed with eleven other ships of the line, a 50-gun fourth-rate, and five frigates, to intercept a French convoy that had sailed from Brest on 10 December. Not knowing that the convoy was protected by twenty-one ships of the line under the command of Luc Urbain de Bouexic, comte de Guichen, Kempenfelt ordered a chase when they were sighted on 12 December and began the battle. When he noted the French superiority he contented himself with capturing fifteen sail of the convoy. The French were dispersed in a gale and forced to return home.
Siege of Gibraltar
In October 1782, Victory under Admiral Richard Howe was the fleet flagship in a powerful escort flotilla for a convoy of transports which resupplied Gibraltar in the face of a blockade by the French and Spanish navies. No resistance was encountered on entering the straits and the supplies were successfully unloaded. There was a minor engagement at the time of departure, in which Victory did not fire a shot. The British ships were under orders to return home and did so without major incident.
Battle of Cape St. Vincent
In 1796 Captain Robert Calder (First Captain) and Captain George Grey (Second Captain), commanded Victory under Admiral Sir John Jervis's flag. By the end of 1796, the British position in the Mediterranean had become untenable. Jervis had stationed his fleet off Cape St Vincent to prevent the Spanish sailing north, whilst Horatio Nelson was to oversee the evacuation of Elba. Once the evacuation had been accomplished, Nelson, in HMS Minerve, sailed for Gibraltar. On learning that the Spanish fleet had passed by some days previous, Nelson left to rendezvous with Jervis on 11 February. The Spanish fleet, which had been blown off course by easterly gales, was that night working its way to Cadiz. The darkness and a dense fog meant Nelson was able to pass through the enemy fleet without being spotted and join Jervis on 13 February. Jervis' whose fleet had been reinforced on 5 February by five ships from England under Rear-Admiral William Parker, now had 15 ships of the line. The following morning, having had his fleet drawn up into two columns, Jervis impressed upon the officers on Victory's quarterdeck how, "A victory to England is very essential at the moment". Jervis was not aware of the size of the fleet he was facing but at around 0630hrs, received word that five Spanish battleships were to the south-east. By 0900hrs the first enemy ships were visible from Victory's masthead and at 1100hrs Jervis gave the order to form line of battle. As the Spanish ships became visible to him, Calder reported the numbers to Jervis but at 27 Jervis replied, "Enough Sir. No more of that. The die is cast and if there are 50 sail, I will go through them". The Spanish were caught by surprise, sailing in two divisions with a gap that Jervis aimed to exploit. The ship's log records how Victory halted the Spanish division, raking ships both ahead and astern, while Jervis' private memoirs recall how the Victory's broadside so terrified the Principe de Asturias that she "..squared her yards, ran clear out of the battle and did not return". Jervis, realising that the main bulk of the enemy fleet could now cross astern and reunite, ordered his ships to change course but Sir Charles Thompson, leading the rear division, failed to comply. The following ships were now in a quandary over whether to obey the Admiral's signal or follow their divisional commander. Nelson, who had transferred to HMS Captain, was the first to break off and attack the main fleet as Jervis had wanted and other ships soon followed his example. The British fleet not only achieved its main objective, that of preventing the Spanish from joining their French and Dutch allies in the channel, but also captured four ships. The dead and wounded from these four ships alone amounted to 261 and 342 respectively; more than the total number of British casualties of 73 dead and 327 wounded. There was one fatality aboard Victory when a cannonball narrowly missed Jervis and decapitated a nearby sailor.
By late 1797 Victory was stationed at Chatham under the command of Lieutenant J. Rickman. In December, unfit for service as a warship, she was ordered to be converted to a hospital ship to hold wounded French and Spanish prisoners of war.
However, on 8 October 1799 HMS Impregnable was lost off Chichester, having run aground on her way back to Portsmouth after escorting a convoy to Lisbon. She could not be refloated and so was stripped and dismantled. Now short of a first rate, the Admiralty decided to recondition Victory. Work started in 1800 but as it proceeded an increasing number of defects were found and the repairs developed into a very extensive reconstruction. The original estimate was £23,500 but the final cost was £70,933. Extra gun ports were added, taking her from 100 guns to 104, and her magazine lined with copper. Her figurehead was replaced along with her masts and the paint scheme changed from red to the black and yellow seen today. Her gun ports were originally yellow to match the hull but later repainted black, giving a pattern later called the "Nelson chequer", which was adopted by all Royal Navy ships after the Battle of Trafalgar. The work was completed in April 1803 and the ship left for Portsmouth the following month under her new captain, Samuel Sutton.
Nelson and Trafalgar
Vice-Admiral Nelson hoisted his flag in Victory on 18 May 1803 with Samuel Sutton as his flag captain. The ship was not ready to sail however, so Nelson transferred to the frigate Amphion on the 20 May and left to assume command in the Mediterranean. Victory later sailed to Ushant to serve as flagship to Cornwallis but was not required and so went to the Mediterranean in search of Nelson.
On 28 May, Captain Sutton captured the French Embuscade of 32 guns, bound for Rochefort.Victory rejoined Lord Nelson off Toulon where on 31 July, Captain Sutton exchanged commands with the captain of Amphion, Thomas Masterman Hardy and Nelson raised his flag in Victory once more.
Victory was passing the island of Toro on 4 April 1805, when HMS Phoebe brought the news that the French fleet under Pierre-Charles Villeneuve had escaped from Toulon. While Nelson made for Sicily to see if the French were heading for Egypt, Villeneuve was entering Cádiz to link up with the Spanish fleet. On 9 May Nelson received news from HMS Orpheus that Villeneuve had left Cadiz a month earlier. The British fleet completed their stores in Lagos Bay, Portugal and on 11 May, sailed westward with ten ships and three frigates in pursuit of the combined Franco-Spanish fleet of 17 ships. They arrived in the West Indies to find that the enemy was sailing back to Europe where Napoleon Bonaparte was waiting for them with his invasion forces at Boulogne.
The Franco-Spanish fleet was involved in the indecisive Battle of Cape Finisterre in fog off Ferrol with Admiral Sir Robert Calder's squadron on 22 July before taking refuge in Vigo and Ferrol. Calder on 14 August and Nelson on 15 August joined Admiral Cornwallis's Channel Fleet off Ushant. Nelson continued to England in Victory leaving his Mediterranean fleet with Cornwallis who detached twenty of his thirty-three ships of the line and sent them under Calder to find the combined fleet at Ferrol. On 19 August came the worrying news that the enemy had sailed from there, followed by relief when they arrived in Cádiz two days later. On the evening of Saturday, 28 September, Lord Nelson joined Lord Collingwood's fleet off Cádiz, quietly, so that his presence would not be known.
Battle of Trafalgar
After learning he was to be removed from command, Villeneuve put to sea on the morning of 19 October, and once the last ship had left port, around noon the following day, set sail for the Mediterranean. The British frigates sent to keep track of the enemy fleet throughout the night, were spotted at around 1900hrs and the order was given to form line of battle. On the morning of 21 October the main British fleet, which was out of sight and sailing parallel some 10 miles away, turned to intercept. Nelson had already made his plans: to break the enemy line some two or three ships ahead of their Commander in Chief in the centre and achieve victory before the van could come to their aid. At 0600hrs Nelson ordered his fleet into two columns. Fitful winds made it a slow business and for more than six hours the two columns of British ships slowly approached the French line before Royal Sovereign, leading the lee column, was able to open fire on Fougueux. Around 30 minutes later Victory broke the line between Bucentaure and Redoutable firing a treble shotted broadside into the stern of the former from a range of a few yards. At quarter-past one Nelson was shot, the fatal musket ball entering his left shoulder and lodging in his spine. He died at half past four. Such killing had taken place on Victory 's quarter deck that Redoutable attempted to board her, but they were thwarted by the arrival of Eliab Harvey in the 98-gun HMS Temeraire, whose broadside devastated the French ship. Nelson's last order was for the fleet to anchor, but this was countermanded by Vice Admiral Collingwood. Victory suffered 57 killed and 102 wounded.
Final years afloat
Victory had been badly damaged in the battle and was not able to move under her own sail. She was therefore towed to Gibraltar by HMS Neptune for repairs. She then took Nelson's body to England where, after lying in state at Greenwich, he was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral on 9 January 1806.
Victory bore many Admirals' flags after Trafalgar, and sailed on numerous expeditions, including two Baltic campaigns under Admiral Sir James Saumarez. Finally her active career ended on 7 November 1812, when she was moored in Portsmouth Harbour off Gosport and used as a depot ship.
It is said that when Thomas Hardy was First Sea Lord he told his wife, on returning home, that he had just signed an order for Victory to be broken up. She burst into tears and sent him straight back to his office to rescind the order. Though this story may be apocryphal, the page of the 1831 duty log containing the orders for that day has been torn out. Victory was largely forgotten except for a brief period during 1833 when she was visited by the queen in waiting, Princess Victoria and her mother, the Duchess of Kent.
In 1889, Victory was fitted up as a Naval School of Telegraphy. She soon became a proper Signal School, and signal ratings from ships paying off were sent to Victory, instead of the barracks, for a two-month training course. The School remained on Victory until 1904, when training was transferred temporarily to HMS Hercules, and in 1906 the whole School was moved to a permanent establishment at the Chatham Royal Naval Barracks.
As the years passed by Victory slowly deteriorated at her moorings. In 1903 HMS Neptune was being towed to the breakers yard when she broke free and ploughed into Victory, holing her below the waterline. Emergency repairs were carried out to stop her sinking but it was only the personal intervention of Edward VII that prevented Victory from being scrapped. Interest in the ship was revived in 1905 when, as part of the centenary celebrations of the Battle of Trafalgar, she was decorated with electric lights powered by a submarine moored alongside. In 1910 the Society for Nautical Research was created to try and preserve her for future generations but the Admiralty was unable to help, having become embroiled in an escalating arms race; thus by the time Frank H. Mason published The Book of British Ships in 1911, Victory's condition was described as "..nothing short of an insult". By 1921 she was in a very poor state, and the Save the Victory campaign was started with shipping magnate, Sir James Caird becoming a major contributor.
In dry dock
On 12 January 1922 she was moved into No. 2 dock at Portsmouth, the oldest drydock in the world still in use, her condition having deteriorated to the extent that she could no longer safely remain afloat. During the initial restoration period from 1922 to 1929, a considerable amount of structural repair work was carried out above the waterline and, mainly, above the middle deck. In 1928 King George V was able to unveil a tablet celebrating the completion of the work, although restoration and maintenance still continued under the supervision of the Society for Nautical Research.
Restoration was suspended during World War II and in 1941, Victory sustained further damage when a bomb dropped by the Luftwaffe destroyed one of the steel cradles and part of the foremast. On one occasion German radio propaganda claimed that the ship had been destroyed by a bomb, and the Admiralty had to issue a denial. In the 1950s, a number of preventative measures were instigated including the removal of bulkheads to increase airflow and the fumigating of the ship against deathwatch beetle. The following decade saw the replacement of much of the decayed oak with oily hardwoods such as teak and Iroko, which were believed to be more resistant to fungus and pests. The decision to restore Victory to her Battle of Trafalgar configuration was taken in 1920 but the need to undertake these important repairs meant this wasn't achieved until 2005, in time for the Trafalgar 200 celebrations. Victory 's foretopsail was severely damaged during the battle of Trafalgar, perforated by upwards of 90 cannonballs and other projectiles. It was replaced after the battle but was preserved, and eventually came to be displayed in the Royal Naval Museum.
Listed as part of the National Historic Fleet, HMS Victory has been the flagship of the First Sea Lord since October 2012. Prior to this she was the flagship of the Second Sea Lord. She is the oldest commissioned warship in the world (see "Note 1" below) and attracts around 350,000 visitors per year in her role as a museum ship. The current and 100th commanding officer is Lt Cdr Rod Strathern Royal Navy, who assumed command in September 2011.
Current support arrangements
In December 2011 Defence Equipment & Support, DE&S awarded an initial five-year project management contract to BAE Systems, with an option to extend to ten years. The restoration is worth £16 million over the life of the contract and will include work to the masts and rigging, replacement side planking, and the addition of fire control measures. It is expected to be the most extensive refit since the ship returned from Trafalgar.
Since this contract was placed, the most significant change has been on 6 March 2012, when ownership of the ship was transferred from the Ministry of Defence to a dedicated HMS Victory Preservation Trust, established as part of the National Museum of the Royal Navy. According to the Royal Navy website, the move was "heralded by the announcement of a £25 million capital grant to support the new Trust by the Gosling Foundation – a donation which has been matched by a further £25 million from the MOD" .
Admirals who have hoisted their flag on the Victory
Over the two centuries since Victory 's launch, numerous admirals have hoisted their flag in her:
|List of Admirals|
|Admiral The Viscount Keppel||16 May 1778||28 October 1778|
|Admiral Sir Charles Hardy||19 March 1779||14 May 1780|
|Admiral Sir Francis Geary||24 May 1780||28 August 1780|
|Rear Admiral Francis William Drake||26 September 1780||29 December 1780|
|Vice Admiral Sir Hyde Parker||20 March 1781||31 May 1781|
|Commodore John Elliott||June 1781||August 1781|
|Rear Admiral Richard Kempenfelt||10 September 1781||11 March 1782|
|Admiral The Earl Howe||20 April 1782||14 November 1782|
|Admiral The Earl Howe||July 1790||August 1790|
|Admiral The Lord Hood||August 1790||August 1791|
|Rear Admiral Sir Hyde Parker||6 February 1793||May 1793|
|Admiral The Lord Hood||6 May 1793||15 December 1794|
|Rear Admiral Robert Mann||8 July 1795||27 September 1795|
|Vice Admiral Robert Linzee||October 1795||November 1795|
|Admiral Sir John Jervis||3 December 1795||30 March 1797|
|Vice Admiral The Viscount Nelson||8 May 1803||21 October 1805|
|Admiral Sir James Saumarez||18 March 1808||9 December 1808|
|Admiral Sir Graham Moore||December 1808||23 January 1809|
|Admiral Sir James Saumarez||8 April 1809||December 1809|
|Admiral Sir James Saumarez||11 March 1810||3 December 1810|
|Rear Admiral Sir Joseph Yorke||December 1810||March 1811|
|Admiral Sir James Saumarez||2 April 1811||25 December 1811,|
|Admiral Sir James Saumarez||14 April 1812||15 October 1812|
|In Ordinary||18 December 1812||31 January 1824|
|Commissioner Sir Michael Seymour, 1st Baronet||1824|
|Paid off||30 April 1827||21 October 1831|
|became Flagship of Port Admiral|
|Rear Admiral Sir Frederick Lewis Maitland||1832|
|Rear Admiral Duncombe Pleydell-Bouverie||1837|
|Rear Admiral Hyde Parker||1842|
|Rear Admiral W H Shiffeff||1847|
|Admiral Sir Charles Ogle||20 March 1848||19 December 1848|
|Admiral Sir Thomas Capel||20 December 1848||19 December 1851|
|Admiral Sir Thomas Briggs||20 December 1851||19 March 1853|
|Vice Admiral Sir Thomas Cochrane||20 March 1854||19 March 1856|
|Vice Admiral Sir George Seymour||20 March 1856||19 March 1859|
|Admiral Sir William Bowles||20 March 1859||19 March 1860|
|Vice Admiral Sir Henry Bruce||20 March 1860||19 December 1864|
|Vice Admiral Sir Michael Seymour||20 December 1864||19 March 1866|
|Vice Admiral Sir Thomas Pasley||20 March 1866||20 March 1869|
|Tender to HMS Duke of Wellington||20 December 1869||1 September 1891|
|Admiral The Earl of Clanwilliam||1 August 1891||17 September 1894|
|Admiral Sir Nowell Salmon VC||18 September 1894||31 August 1897|
|Admiral Sir Michael Culme-Seymour||1 September 1897||17 November 1900|
|Admiral Sir Charles Hotham||18 November 1900||30 September 1903|
|Admiral Sir John Fisher||1 October 1903||18 March 1904|
|The Port Admiral's flag moved to Hercules
and on 1 February 1905, to Firequeen
|Admiral Sir Archibald Douglas||18 March 1905||1 March 1907|
|Admiral Sir Day Bosanquet||2 March 1907||17 March 1908|
|Admiral Sir Arthur Fanshawe||18 March 1908||30 April 1910|
|Admiral Sir Assheton Curzon-Howe||1 May 1910||17 March 1911|
|Admiral Sir Arthur Moore||18 March 1911||31 July 1912|
|Admiral of the Fleet Sir Hedworth Meux||1 August 1912||17 February 1916|
|Admiral The Hon Sir Stanley Colville||18 February 1916||17 April 1919|
|Admiral Sir Cecil Burney||18 April 1919||17 June 1920|
|Admiral Hon Sir Somerset Gough-Calthorpe||18 June 1920||31 May 1923|
|Admiral Sir Sydney Fremantle||1 June 1923||1 April 1926|
|Admiral Sir Osmond Brock||18 May 1926||30 April 1929|
|Admiral of the Fleet Sir Roger Keyes||1 May 1929||17 June 1931|
|Admiral Sir Arthur Waistell||18 June 1931||17 February 1934|
|Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Kelly||18 February 1931||31 August 1936|
|Admiral of the Fleet The Earl of Cork and Orrery||18 August 1937||30 June 1939|
|Admiral Sir William James||1 July 1939||30 September 1942|
|Admiral Sir Charles Little||1 October 1942||28 September 1945|
|Admiral Sir Geoffrey Layton||29 September 1945||29 June 1947|
|Admiral The Lord Fraser of North Cape||30 June 1947||18 April 1949|
|Admiral of the Fleet Sir Algernon Willis||19 April 1949||17 October 1950|
|Admiral of the Fleet Sir Arthur Power||18 October 1950||17 October 1952|
|Admiral Sir John Edelsten||18 October 1952||17 October 1954|
|Admiral of the Fleet Sir George Creasy||18 October 1954||17 July 1957|
|Admiral Sir Guy Grantham||18 July 1957||17 July 1959|
|Admiral Sir Manley Power||18 July 1959||17 January 1962|
|Admiral Sir Alexander Bingley||18 January 1962||17 January 1963|
|Admiral Sir Wilfrid Woods||18 January 1963||9 September 1965|
|Admiral Sir Varyl Begg||10 September 1965||9 June 1966|
|Admiral Sir Frank Hopkins||10 June 1966||30 October 1967|
|Admiral Sir John Frewen||31 October 1967||27 February 1970|
|Admiral Sir Horace Law||28 February 1970||28 February 1972|
|Admiral Sir Andrew Lewis||29 February 1972||29 June 1974|
|Admiral Sir Derek Empson||30 June 1974||30 October 1975|
|Admiral Sir Terence Lewin||31 October 1975||30 October 1976|
|Admiral Sir David Williams||31 October 1976||30 October 1978|
|Admiral Sir Richard Clayton||31 October 1978||30 June 1981|
|Admiral Sir James Eberle||1 July 1981||31 December 1983|
|Admiral Sir Desmond Cassidi||1 January 1983||30 October 1984|
|Admiral Sir Peter Stanford||31 October 1984||30 October 1987|
|Admiral Sir John "Sandy" Woodward||31 October 1987||30 October 1989|
|Admiral Sir Jeremy Black||31 October 1989||30 March 1991|
|Admiral Sir John Kerr||31 March 1991||30 March 1993|
|Admiral Sir Michael Layard||31 March 1993||30 March 1994|
|Admiral Sir Michael Boyce||31 March 1994||30 March 1997|
|Admiral Sir John Brigstocke||31 March 1997||18 January 2000|
|Vice Admiral Sir Peter Spencer||19 January 2000||28 January 2003|
|Vice-Admiral Sir James Burnell-Nugent||29 January 2003||25 October 2005|
|Vice-Admiral Sir Adrian Johns||25 October 2005||15 July 2008|
|Vice-Admiral Sir Alan Massey||15 July 2008||19 July 2010|
|Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Montgomery||19 July 2010||9 October 2012|
|Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope||9 October 2012||9 April 2013|
|Admiral Sir George Zambellas||9 April 2013||present|
- Although 30 years younger, USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship still afloat.
- Lavery, Ships of the Line, vol. 1, p. 175.
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- Christopher (2010) pp. 20–21
- Christopher (2010) p.21
- UK CPI inflation numbers based on data available from Gregory Clark (2014), "What Were the British Earnings and Prices Then? (New Series)" MeasuringWorth.
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